Be very clear about this, no formal announcements have been made about the iPhone in Australia, however reports are spreading across the web that Telstra is testing the iPhone on their 3G network.
A Telstra spokesman said “We have been testing the iPhone as we would any device that comes into the country”. So there’s no certainty that this ‘testing’ will lead to Telstra carrying the phone.
Let’s take a moment and assume this may actually happen. That Apple would sign a deal with Telstra, delivering the phone exclusively on their network, there’s a number of concerns I have. The largest being the data plans currently offered on mobile devices connecting to the web. These are currently prohibitively expensive, pretty much everyone I know owns a mobile, yet none of them are frequent browsers from their handheld. This comes down to 2 factors, cost and usability.
With the iPhone offering the best mobile web browsing experience of any mobile the problem of usability is fixed, or at least largely improved. This is only beneficial if the data rates for using it don’t send you broke.
If Telstra’s ridiculous Internet plans with excess download charges are anything to go buy, we’re very unlikely to be treated to an all-you-can-eat data plan like the US. I’m happy to be proven wrong on this, so Telstra if you do land the iPhone deal, please, please hear this… We want unlimited data plans!
I’m currently on pre-paid Optus, however as we’ve seen many consumers in the US switch to their less preferred AT&T just to get the iPhone, I think we’ll see Australians follow suit, provided the price is right. Myself included.